Like every living organism, fish also need sleep to restore their energy level. My obsession with platy fish encouraged me to investigate the platy fish’s sleeping pattern and behavior.
How do platy fish sleep? Platy sleep in the same way as most of the other closely related fish. They do not have eyelids so their eyes remain wide open while asleep. However, their behavioral change determines their sleeping pattern. While sleeping, they enact a daydreaming phase and their metabolic rate slows down which enables the body to retrieve energy.
The change in the behavior and movement of platy fish is very easy to notice. As we all know that platy is a very energetic fish and you will see it roaming around the tank the whole time. But what if your platy slows down or hides under the rock or plant? Is it sleeping? Let’s find out when and how does this fish sleep?
Sleeping platy fishes (Video)
Platy fish sleeping pattern
If you are well aware of the playful nature of platies, you must know that they keep on swimming around the tank except for their resting time. Like all other animals, fish get tired of their daily activities and they either slow down or completely stop moving to take rest or sleep. Sleeping is a natural process that provides the body a chance to relax and restore its energy. The mobile nature of platy fish takes up a lot of energy while swimming; hence sleep is compulsory to keep it moving. If they do not sleep well their body functions will get disturbed just as the human body fails to do its function due to lack of sleep.
Why do platy fish need to sleep?
The main reason for sleeping is already mentioned above i.e. resting or restoring the energy. But there are some other reasons why fish necessarily need to sleep. Basically, fish use their eyes in performing its daily functions like searching for food, hiding and moving around. The sense of smell is interrupted by water waves that make it less reliable. So, a fish has to depend largely on their eyes to survive in an aquarium. That’s why the platies need a dark time to sleep and rest their eyes so they can function properly.
When do platy fish sleep?
The sleep cycle of a platy fish kept in a home tank or aquarium usually depends upon the interior lights. The species of platy fish is normally diurnal; that means they stay awake at daytime and rest at night when it’s dark.
However, inside the tank the lights determine the day and night for the fish. The fish shows sleeping behavior when the surroundings are dark and imitates the night. So, if you ever leave the platies in complete dark, then you will find them asleep shortly.
However, if you keep the lights on the whole time, the tired platy might take rest in small intervals but it cannot rest calmly. It is recommended to set up the environment of the tank as dark and quiet for a while to provide your fish a relaxing sleep time. If the aquarium lights are never turned off, then your platy fish can be stressed due to lack of good sleep.
How to tell if your platy fish is sleeping?
Platy fish might prefer sleeping in dark like humans but they lack eyelids which mean they are incapable of closing their eyes. So, that goes out of the window when it comes to signs of sleep.
If you want to know that your platy fish is sleeping or not, then you can check out following behavior signs:
- If the fish is not showing any activity for a long time
- It has moved to the base or surface of tank
- The speed of breathing gills is slowed down
- Decreased response to an external stimulus
- Regular sleeping pattern (way of sleeping) and time
These tips can be used in order to evaluate the sleeping routine of your fish. The body becomes idle but you can expect a little flick of fin while sleeping which is necessary for stability in water.
Many platy fish owners have seen their fish descend down to the surface of the tank or hide into some aquarium plant to sleep. That means if you find your platy fish lurked under a leaf and it is not showing any movement, then it is probably asleep.
Try not to disturb the fish when they are sleeping because this disturbance can lead them to stress.
However, sometimes when the lights are turned off, platy fish have a habit of floating to the surface. At times, the pregnant platy would do this as well.
This behavior is uncommon in daylight or when you have artificial lights turned on in your room, so if your platy is floating to the top of the tank with the lights are on, then the odds are that it is suffering from any problem. In that case, you must consult an expert to sort out the solution.
How to take care of sleeping fish?
So, it is clear that platy fish do need adequate sleep time to live a healthy life. But due to their particular sleeping manner, it requires considerable attention to tell if they are sleeping or not. Being an owner of platy fish, make sure that you are taking care of their sleep essentials and keep it dark while they are resting. A soothing sleep will help them in conserving the energy which they use in swimming around and playing.
What happens when a fish doesn’t sleep? The sleep of fish is considerably disturbed when the aquarium lights are kept on 24/7. The lack of good sleep would generate stress and eventually, the fish would die. So, you should give your fish a proper time to enjoy a sound sleep. You can turn off the lights to the aquarium at the night.
What to feed platy fish? You can feed them usual fish food like flakes or other dry food that is rich in proteins. The baby platies (fry) do not need any specific diet, yet you can get them liquid food that is available in pet stores. You can also feed them boiled egg yolk by crushing it into powder form.
How can you wake up a sleeping fish? Sleeping fish is inactive but not unresponsive, they can be nudged up easily. You can turn on the lights and move in front of them. It is not advisable to bother a sleeping fish as it can get sick if you do so.